Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Nepal: Two Armies Under a Single Command

Posted by Sole on November 23, 2008

This article originally appeared on The Red Star.

On The Question of Army Integration

by Maheshwar Dahal

Anti-people powers inside and outside the country have not taken the important issue of army integration seriously.

The question of the integration of the PLA and the NA must be seen from a political point of view. The first thing is that the concrete achievement of the FDR (federal democratic republic)  was achieved through the Peoples War by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and the PLA has been established as the principal power to address the political, economic and cultural causes of the revolution.

The second thing is that the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist has postponed and deactivated all the other achievements to make the peace process a success, through the establishment of the FDR and the process of state restructuring. If Maoist is ready to forsake the agenda of Army integration, it will give the message that the CPN-Maoist came to the peace process to surrender.

The third is that the Nepal Army is the main pillar of state power. Without the transformation of the army, the restructuring of the state is impossible. Therefore, the formation of a new Army is inseparably connected with the building of a new Nepal. This task is impossible without the integration of the two armies.

The fourth is that the then-eight political parties have already agreed upon this agreement. If the agreement is not implemented, then the whole process from the 12-point understanding to now will have broken down.

Fifth, the question of the integration of the army is closely related to abolishing discrimination in the state and making it inclusive. A national army, representing the national interest, cannot be made without the integration with PLA that has the inclusive representation of women, Dalit, Madhesi and other nationalities and marginalized groups.

Sixth, actually, the revolution was to provide space and responsibility for them in the state and in the society. Some are expressing contradictory statements that, on the one hand, they plead for the addressing of Maoist revolt and, at the same time, they reject the integration of the armies. This type of contradictory expression is conspiratorial.

Seventh, the old army is the army built to protect feudalism. Obviously, the old army could not even oppose the foreign interference over nationality. Just opposite, the formation and development of the PLA was for the protection of the independence of the nation, political rights of the people against repression and the injustice of feudalism and imperialism. Therefore, the appropriate structure of the national army cannot be created without the PLA, the army dedicated and devoted to the nation and its people. However, it was never for the jobs.

Some others are seeking to deal with the PLA through alternatives to integration. The talk about the PLA joining the Industrial Security Force (ISF) by using them as security guards in industries to suppress workers in the factories is a great dishonor to the PLA. Many different alternatives have been given such as foreign employment, trades and business or returning home. The PLA did not fight in the People’s War for jobs or for economic relief. This tendency is a status quo and regressive tendency, and leads the PLA to its dissolution.

The people who consider the PLA to be an obstacle on the way must answer the question; what is the address of Maoist revolt if they are not in favor of creating a national army by integrating the two armies? What is the meaning of restructuring the army? What do they mean by new Nepal? What is inclusive in state system? What is the purpose of the comprehensive Peace Accord? And then, what is the outlet for a progressive political exit?

The different types of reasons, which are being debated, are emerging from idea of dissolving it. It will ambush the progressive agenda of the restructure of the state. The integration of army should not be taken arithmetically or mechanically. This should be transferred into the recognition of the changed national political environment, role and responsibility of national independency, the fulfillment of the measurement of professionalism and the force to be recognized as the identity to all the Nepalese People. The army cannot play its role as the national army until and unless there is unity in the aforementioned subjects in understanding and behavior.

Therefore, in the beginning of the integration of the army, the two armies should be under a single command and it will be the only scientific procedure, and because of their different backgrounds, there will be some inconvenience.

The question of the integration of army is a serious question connected with national interest. Only a few persons should not take any decision in a hurry. The decision should be taken by putting the national interest into the top-priority instead of the ambition of a few persons. Otherwise, who will be responsible for the result of the lack of foresight? Therefore, this question should be solved according to the modality of a new constitution, or it should be concluded from the referendum through a civil debate and verdict.

Writer is chairman of revolutionary journalists Association.

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